Two years ago, 3D televisions and computer displays were going to be the technological advancement that changed the game. It didn’t. If flopped. It went from being a huge part of CES 2011 to a no-show at CES 2013.
The “next big thing” that did make a stout appearance at CES 2013 was 4K Ultra HD. Several companies put their latest display technology front and center at the show, boasting of four times the visual quality of 1080P HD. If the video below and article by Matt Buchanan at Buzzfeed are true, this game changer might actually change the game… for real this time.
There is a certain kind of brutal inevitability to 4K or ultra-high-definition displays: It constantly gets cheaper to manufacture displays that are more pixel-dense than the year before. (If you buy a new phone this year that isn’t an iPhone, it’ll be 720p or 1080p, mostly likely.) So it’s a fairly straightforward path for where TVs go next: one lined with more pixels. And while the leap to 4K won’t be quite as staggering as the one from standard definition to high definition, the case for it is much easier to make than 3-D, particularly once the prices of ultra HD displays fall to relatively affordable levels.
On the surface, it may seem as if 3D was the innovation while 4K is only an improvement and therefore shouldn’t be more significant, but the exact opposite may be true. We’ve seen 3D. Many of us have been seeing it for decades even though the popularity waned in the 80s and 90s. It’s a gimmick, one that many people simply don’t care enough about to spend the extra money on it. More importantly, it was adopted by the gadget makers but not by as many of the content producers to make it worthwhile. Many who did purchase 3D displays had a hard time hunting for the right content to make proper use of their heavy expenditure.
It was a dud.
Ultra-HD is different. Even though it’s only an improvement, it’s one that doesn’t require as many changes on the content producers’ side. Upgrading equipment is easier than changing the format altogether. One does not have to publish multiple formats to make Ultra-HD work. As you’ll see in this video, you can still see much of the stunning film’s beauty even without an Ultra-HD display. If you’re watching on a device that’s capable of a mere 1080P, it’s still amazing.
Here’s the video. Be sure to change the resolution on YouTube to “Original” even if you don’t have the right display. Note: you’ll need a strong internet connection to get the effect without interruption. Don’t go for “Original” if you’re on a 3G connection.